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No winners in Bayshore crash’s aftermath | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Saturday’s letters to the editor, including the April letter of the month.
Ron DeSantis leaves a West Palm Beach rally where he appeared live on "Fox and Friends" to sign a voting reform law.
Ron DeSantis leaves a West Palm Beach rally where he appeared live on "Fox and Friends" to sign a voting reform law.
Published May 8

No winners here

24 years in Bayshore crash | April 9

Editor’s note: This is the letter of the month for April.

Cameron Herrin was sentenced to 24 years for two counts of vehicular homicide for racing on Bayshore Boulevard, which resulted in the deaths of a young mother and her 1-year-old. Herrin faced a minimum of 18 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison. His attorneys asked for a six-year sentence and the family of those killed wanted 30. What is the price for two lives? This is such a difficult and interesting question, and a sad day for everyone involved.

I’m confident that our system must continue to impose these difficult sentences to serve as a deterrent to future similarly reckless behavior; however, that only works if families share this story with their children, and we teach our kids that actions have consequences, and we as adults ensure those consequences are appropriately meted out. I believe we must also discuss the abject failure of our criminal justice system to provide for productive lives behind bars and opportunities for rehabilitation, and what that says about us as a society.

It is unconscionable that we will likely put this 21-year-old with no priors in the same prison as some of our worst offenders, and then make it exceptionally difficult for him to spend his sentence in ways which is not only highly productive for him, but also for society. His reaction to the sentence tells the whole story.

The victims’ family is broken, Herrin’s family is broken, Herrin will lose the best years of his life, and we as taxpayers will fund decades of punishment instead of supporting a life of productivity. No one wins.

James Ratliff, Tampa

Imagine this scenario

A partisan presentation | May 7

Picture this: President Joe Biden comes to liberal St. Petersburg to sign an extremely controversial gun law banning assault weapons. He’s surrounded by liberal mayors, pastors — including Al Sharpton — and, of course, gun activist David Hogg. CNN is the only news outlet invited. Fox News and other extreme news outlets are banned. Cue the outrage.

Eileen Stafford, St. Petersburg

A veteran and a voter

Gov. DeSantis just made it harder for me — a veteran — to vote | May 7

When I was in the Army, I too voted absentee. I had to go in person to the supervisor of elections office in Clearwater and affirm that I wouldn’t be able to vote in person. When I voted I had to sign my ballot and have my signature witnessed by a superior officer. When I see news coverage of people in other countries voting for the first time, risking being gunned down while in line at the polls, and then proudly displaying a dyed finger afterward, I am ashamed for my country. We have become such wusses that we won’t exert ourselves every couple of years to exercise the very freedom from which our other freedoms flow. Shame on us indeed.

John Weiss, Spring Hill

The puppet master

The strongman in the dark blue suit | Another voice, May 7

To add to this editorial reprinted from the Sun-Sentinel, don’t forget the puppet Legislature that is being manipulated by the same governor who was barely elected. Except for the outliers who voted against the legislation, the rest are puppies on a leash. Is he really doing what’s best for Florida or best for him?

Carol Hess, Hudson

Stand up for the truth

The GOP is at a turning point. History is watching us | Liz Cheney column, May 7

“I am the way, the truth, and the life” is the defining statement of Christianity. The Republicans in the U.S. House who are choosing Rep. Elise Stefanik over Rep. Liz Cheney as conference leader will forfeit any claim to Christianity. They will choose Barabbas over Jesus, they will crucify the truth and enshrine the lie. For the record, I am a liberal Democrat who would not support any of Ms. Cheney’s policies. But I will support anybody who will stand up for the truth, especially when she suffers persecution by the merchants who profit from the lie.

Lodovico Balducci, Tampa

Voters will vote

A partisan presentation | May 7

Two points. First of all, does anyone really think that, if somehow Donald Trump had lost Florida, that Florida would have been “spared contentious recounts and allegations of widespread voter fraud” seen in other states where he did lose? Second, even with new voting regulations making it more difficult to vote, voters have proven that they will get the job done. And what happens then if the Republicans lose? What will they whine and protest about?

David Lubin, Tampa

Such high hopes

A partisan presentation | May 7

After the 2018 election, I had hopes that maybe our new governor would govern Florida for the good of its citizens. Since then, I’ve watched as Gov. Ron DeSantis has moved from bipartisan promise solidly into the domain of Donald Trump. He is pandering to Trump lies, denying the science of the pandemic and now the biggest lie of all — that the election was a fraud. He has also made it quite clear by his action of opening his signing circus only to Fox News that he cares more for his political career than he does for democracy. Where are the Florida Republicans of integrity? Where are Florida Republicans of courage who are willing to risk their political careers to stand for truth? Where are the Florida Republican voters who see the lie and refuse to believe it? Our state and country are in deeper trouble than you realize if we continue on this path.

Fern Williams, Zephyrhills